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Heath briefs for Aug. 17, 2015

WHAT: Capital Area Human Services is offering Lunch N’ Learn sessions on anxiety WHEN: Noon to 1 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 18 WHERE: CAHS main clinic sites — Center for Adult Behavioral Health, Building 2, 4615 Government St., Baton Rouge; Margaret Dumas Mental Health Center, Conference Room, 3843 Harding Blvd., Baton Rouge; Gonzales Mental Health… Continue reading →

Health question: How to evaluate your risk of cancer?

How do I evaluate my risk of getting cancer? According to the National Cancer Institute, a risk factor is something that may increase the chance of developing a disease. There are four types of risk factors for cancer — behavioral, biological, environmental and genetic. Behavioral risk factors are those that can be changed… Continue reading →

Understand the difference between schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s

What is the difference between schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s? Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia and usually manifests around the age of 65 or after. The disease’s destruction of brain cells causes progressive problems with memory and other cognitive functions, such as spatial orientation, reasoning, language and abstract thinking. Individuals with Alzheimer’s experience many… Continue reading →

Not just headaches: migraine headaches remain misunderstood

Photo provided by MetroSource -- Migraine headaches affect many Americans, but they are not well understood. Some new treatments are being developed, but they do not help all migraine sufferers.

About half the time, Kelsey Ballard feels awful — intense head and neck pain, sensitivity to light and sound, nausea and vomiting. The vibrant 23-year-old elementary schoolteacher doesn’t always show it, but three to four days a week, she suffers the effects of chronic migraine headaches. “I try to hide it and push through… Continue reading →

Deadly heatstroke can be avoided by watching out for these signs

Photo provided by MetroSource -- The dog days of summer are here, and with them come an increased chance of heatstroke.

In the heart of this south Louisiana summer, the heat can be deadly. Heatstroke affects the elderly and young athletes across the country, but in the high heat and humidity of the Gulf Coast, nearly everyone is susceptible. More than 600 people die in the United States each year from heat-related illnesses, according to the… Continue reading →

Health Calendar for July 13, 2015

WHAT: Building Healthy Communities, a health expo WHEN: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. WHERE: Gloryland Baptist Church, 6745 Greenwell Springs Road, Baton Rouge ADMISSION: Free DETAILS: A day of fun, a free jambalaya lunch and health information, including a “Ask the Doc” sessions, health screenings and door prizes. Mobile units expected to be… Continue reading →

Food Fighters: From apples to flaxseeds, certain foods work to fight cancer

Advocate file photo by HEATHER MCCLELLAND -- Apples

. An apple a day — plus some spinach, a handful of nuts and a helping of flaxseed — may help keep cancer away.

Many foods already associated with a healthy diet could help prevent some types of cancer, says Brooke Schoonenberg, a Woman’s Hospital dietitian who teaches a class called “Cancer Fighting Foods.”

“These foods, of course they… Continue reading →

Pole dancing a fitness fad for people of all ‘walks of life, shapes, sizes and fitness levels’

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON -- Dakota Fox, right, of Aradia Pole Dance & Fitness Studio in Cary, North Carolina, teaches a power tricks pole class to Casey Leigh Jordan, of Foxy Fitness in New York City, during the International Pole Convention in New Orleans.

It might be hard to wrap your mind around — not to mention your arms, legs and spine. But pole dancing has become a fitness fad right up there with Zumba and CrossFit, providing a high-intensity, low-impact all-around workout. At the recent International Pole Convention in New Orleans, attendees said pole fitness combines… Continue reading →

Ever heard of pickleball? Tennis-like game draws a crowd in Baton Rouge

Advocate Staff Photo by CHARLES CHAMPAGNE    Robert Nixon, left, and Tim Losavio, right, play a game of pickleball at the BREC Cedar Ridge Park.

Pickleball — fast, competitive and social — isn’t a hard game to sell to new players. But Tim Losavio, an avid 26-year-old pickleballer, wishes it had been called something else. “I don’t tell my friends the name,” Losavio said during a break in the game at Baton Rouge’s Cedar Ridge Park. “I tell them… Continue reading →


WHAT: How to Love Your Heart (Cholesterol and Triglycerides) WHEN: Noon Wednesday. Registration starts at 11 a.m. WHERE: Greenwell Springs Road Regional Branch Library meeting room, 11300 Greenwell Springs Road, Baton Rouge RESERVATIONS: (866) 220-0418 or visit Reservation deadline is Tuesday. DETAILS: Dr. Cordel Y. Parris will speak. This event is… Continue reading →

Walking 10,000 steps a day is great, but how you reach that healthy goal varies greatly

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- Pam Shaffer walks more than 10,000 steps a day, tracking it on her Fitbit and smart phone. She often walks and runs 15,000 to 20,000 steps by walking a mile on a walking track at work during her breaks.

Walking 10,000 steps in a day has become a standard mark of a healthy lifestyle, endorsed by activity trackers like the Fitbit or Jawbone, as well as weight-loss websites and the American Heart Association. But that number — 10,000 steps — wasn’t established by any scientific study, says Catrine Tudor-Locke, director of the Walking Behavior Research… Continue reading →

Trackers for walking are great, but they all keep tabs on activity differently

Activity trackers, like Fitbit, make it easy to keep track of steps during a day. And while it suggests taking 10,000 steps a day, that isn't a magic bullet.

There are dozens of ways to count your steps, from mechanical pedometers to computerized fitness trackers. Nearly all of them work well enough to monitor your daily activity, says Catrine Tudor-Locke, director of the Walking Behavior Research Laboratory at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center. “They measure differently,” Tudor-Locke says. “You yourself can go out and get… Continue reading →

Alzheimer's Q&A, June 15, 2015

My mother has had several spells of low energy and listlessness. My physician tells me is due to dehydration. How can I make sure she is properly hydrated? It is very important for your mom to stay hydrated as dehydration can cause organ failure and death if ignored. Symptoms of dehydration include dry mouth, no urine… Continue reading →

Health Calendar, June 15, 2015

WHAT: Louisiana Walk for Children with Apraxia WHEN: 8 a.m. Saturday WHERE: BREC Highland Road Community Park, 14024 Highland Road, Baton Rouge INFO/REGISTRATION: Suzanne Bailey at (225) 572-8936 or email or visit louisianawalk. DETAILS: Childhood apraxia of speech is a neurologically based motor speech disorder that affects a… Continue reading →

Cancer Q&A, June 15, 2015

How often should I see my gynecologist for a Pap smear? A Pap smear test can detect the cells that line the cervix and may be abnormal. An abnormal Pap smear can be the sign of many different conditions, many benign, or a sign of cervical cancer. It is important for women to have Pap… Continue reading →

No kidding: Blood pressure can be a serious issue for children; experts recommend regular checks at younger age

Advocate staff photo by KYLE PEVETO --Taylor McCready, 6, of Burnside, gets his blood pressure checked at the 5th Annual Cabela's Blood Pressure 4 Kids Fishing Derby. Five in 100 youngsters have higher-than-normal blood pressure.

High blood pressure isn’t just a problem for grown-ups. Five in 100 children have higher-than-normal blood pressure, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. Usually, there is some underlying cause, such as an illness or other medical condition. But for children 7 and older, half of all hypertension is caused by obesity,… Continue reading →

Alzheimer’s Q&A, June 8, 2015

How can I handle my father-in-law who urinates in inappropriate places? When a loved one has Alzheimer’s, impaired judgment makes it increasingly difficult to redirect one’s urge to urinate in appropriate places. Since the disease prevents your father-in-law from understanding he is doing something improper, or from learning not to continue doing it, it is important… Continue reading →

Cancer Q&A, June 8, 2015

What does the term “late effects” mean? Late effects is the term used to refer to side effects from cancer treatments that might not show up right away. According to the National Cancer Institute, a late effect is a health problem that occurs months or years after a disease is diagnosed or after treatment has ended.… Continue reading →

Health Calendar, June 8, 2015

WHAT: Diabetes Education & Awareness Group meeting WHEN: 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 9 WHERE: Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center, first-floor auditorium in the main hospital, 5000 Hennessy Blvd., Baton Rouge INFORMATION: (225) 765-8020. No registration required. DETAILS: Nurse Debra Pete will speak on “Organizing Your Diabetes.” Session is free. Hosted by… Continue reading →

Alzheimer’s Q&A, June 1, 2015

My dad is somewhat resistant to hiring a caregiver. How can I choose good in-home care for him? It is difficult to explain to an individual he can no longer live independently and needs assistance from an outside caregiver. Moreover, having a new person — a stranger — in his home makes him feel uneasy… Continue reading →

Cancer Q&A, June 1, 2015

When is National Cancer Survivors Day? “National Cancer Survivors Day, an annual celebration of life that is held in hundreds of communities throughout the world, is traditionally held on the first Sunday in June. According to the National Cancer Survivors Day Foundation website, “participants unite in a symbolic event to show the world that… Continue reading →

Health Calendar, June 1, 2015

WHAT: Food Addicts Anony-mous, a 12-step free support group to provide fellowship for men and women willing to re-cover from the disease of food addiction. WHEN & WHERE: 5:30-6:30 p.m. every Tuesday in June in St. Francisville at the West Feliciana Parish Library, Room B, 5114 Burnett Road; 5:30-6:30 p.m. every Thursday in… Continue reading →

sunburning questions

A woman sunbathes in a beach in Barcelona, Spain, Friday, May 15, 2015. The Iberian Peninsula has experienced record high temperatures for May as thermometers shot up to levels normally only seen in midsummer. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti) ORG XMIT: EM101

As the days get longer, the outdoors beckon. But longer days also mean stronger rays. Today marks the unofficial start of summer, and getting outside doesn’t mean you have to get a sunburn. Avoiding the sun’s damage can prevent skin cancer — the nation’s most common type of cancer, affecting one in five Americans, according… Continue reading →

Baton Rouge’s O.M.G. Conference recognizes HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

In honor of National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, organizer Sashika Baunchand will present the third annual O.M.G Youth Conference Saturday at Southern University. Baunchand is the executive director of the event’s founding organization, Outstanding Mature Girlz, and is also the Louisiana advocacy consultant for AIDS Healthcare Foundation. She said she… Continue reading →

Alzheimer’s Q&A, May 25, 2015

Why does my husband, who has had Alzheimer’s for over three years, constantly accuse me of infidelity? One of the most common types of delusions, false accusations of infidelity, are oftentimes seen in later stages of Alzheimer’s disease. The affected person is feeling insecure and experiences great anxiety over things happening in his/her life that cannot… Continue reading →

Cancer Q&A, May 25, 2015

Are there different types of brain tumors? Brain tumors occur when cells grow abnormally in the tissues of the brain. These growths can be either benign or malignant. Benign tumors usually have clear borders, grow slowly and do not spread to other tissue. Malignant tumors are cancerous growths that can grow rapidly… Continue reading →

Health Calendar, May 25, 2015

WHAT: National Senior Health & Fitness Day classes offered by the YMCA WHEN & WHERE: The following Y locations will offer these free classes to help seniors develop healthy habits — Paula G. Manship YMCA, 8100 YMCA Plaza, Baton Rouge, (225) 767-9622 — Thursday, May 28, 8:30 a.m., Light N Low class;… Continue reading →

Alzheimer’s Q&A, May 18, 2015

Are individuals with Alzheimer’s or dementia at a higher risk for abuse? According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, elders with dementia are thought to be at a greater risk of abuse and neglect than those of the general elderly population. Elder abuse is one of the most overlooked public health hazards in the United… Continue reading →

Cancer Q&A, May 18, 2015

Are tanning beds more dangerous than spending time the sun? Tanning beds work by emitting UV radiation, the same UV radiation that is produced by the sun, so using a tanning bed is not a way to protect your skin. UV radiation can damage the skin and cause melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, as… Continue reading →

Health Calendar, May 18, 2015

T-Swift, Superfest tickets WHAT: Blood donors can enter to win Taylor Swift and Bayou Country Superfest tickets WHEN: All donors who donate through May 19 will be entered to win a pair of two day passes to Bayou Country Superfest, May 23-24, at Tiger Stadium. One winner will be pulled on May 20. Donors who donate on “Taylor Tuesday”… Continue reading →

Alzheimer’s Q&A, May 11, 2015

It is totally uncharacteristic for my mom who has dementia to be cursing. How do I cope with this new personality trait? The dementia is robbing your mother’s ability to “filter” her words and inhibit her behavior. The inappropriate language erupts, oftentimes spontaneously, to the surprise of family and friends. Swearing can cause great… Continue reading →

Cancer Q&A, May 11, 2015

What type of sunscreen should I be using? The most important thing to look for when buying sunscreen is the term broad-spectrum. Broad-spectrum sunscreen protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Anyone over the age of 6 months should use sunscreen daily to help lower their risk of skin cancer and to protect their skin.… Continue reading →

Health Calendar, May 11, 2015

WHAT: Health summit in recognition of Women’s Health Week WHEN: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday, May 13 WHERE: Capitol Park Welcome Center, 702 N. River Road, Baton Rouge ADMISSION: Free and open to the public. INFORMATION: or email or call (225) 772-7029 DETAILS: State Sen. Sharon Weston Broome and the Louisiana… Continue reading →

Fit to the Core: Health guru advocates strong midsection for long-lasting function, avoiding injuries, back pain and keeping mobile

Advocate staff photo by PATRICK DENNIS --Beginner Alternate Arm and Leg: 1. Start on your hands and knees.

A strong midsection doesn’t always look like washboard abs. Working on core muscles can guard against injuries and back pain and help you stay mobile as you get older, preaches Bill Gvoich, an exercise specialist who focuses on improving quality of life. “The body works as a unit, but the core is the strongest part,”… Continue reading →

Health Calendar, May 4, 2015

WHAT: ABCs of Medicare WHEN: Wednesday, May 6. Registration starts at 9:30 a.m., lecture at 10 a.m. WHERE: Ochsner Health Center – Bluebonnet, fourth-floor Conference Room, 9001 Summa Ave., Baton Rouge RESERVATION: Deadline to register is Tuesday, May 5. Call 1 (866) 220-0418 or visit DETAILS: Speaker will be Christy Levy. Presented by… Continue reading →

Alzheimer’s Q&A, May 4, 2015

Is excessive crying normal in Alzheimer’s disease? As the disease progresses and cognitive functions decline, some affected individuals may cry excessively, oblivious as to whether it is an inappropriate expression of emotion or not. He/she cannot control the display of emotions and sometimes finds it difficult to regain normal composure. The crying may or… Continue reading →

Cancer Q&A, May 4, 2015

Do children get skin cancer? While pediatric skin cancer is rare, it is not unheard of. In addition, it is important to protect your children’s skin from the sun, as one blistering sunburn in childhood more than doubles the chance of developing melanoma later in life. Non-blistering sunburns also increase the risk for melanoma and… Continue reading →

Alzheimer’s Q&A, April 27, 2015

My sister’s friends seemed to have stopped visiting as often as they were before she developed Alzheimer’s. Should I take the initiative and take my sister to visit them? It is not uncommon for individuals with Alzheimer’s or dementia to experience social isolation because of withdrawal from friends and other important people in their lives. Well-meaning… Continue reading →